Alcohol is deeply ingrained in American culture and is the most commonly used addictive substance nationwide. Some people can consume alcohol in moderation and without consequence. However, millions of Americans have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). It’s important to know how to stop drinking.
AUD occurs on a spectrum and impacts everyone differently. When quitting drinking, most people will experience withdrawal symptoms, ranging from uncomfortable to dangerous, depending on the degree of AUD. It is essential to seek professional help to detox from alcohol safely. An alcohol detox center provides medical support, monitoring, and interventions to ensure safety, minimize risks, and address possible complications.
If you or a loved one needs alcohol detox, Vertava Health can help. Reach out online or call 844.451.0263 to learn more about how to quit drinking safely.
Tips for How to Stop Drinking Safely
The effects of alcohol addiction or recurring alcohol abuse on the brain and body are significant and damaging. The more the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of alcohol, the more it becomes dependent on alcohol to function normally. When someone stops drinking suddenly, the body needs to adjust to the lack of alcohol, known as withdrawal.
Deciding to quit drinking is a life-changing decision. If you or your loved one has decided to stop drinking, there are a few steps you can take to do so as safely as possible:
- Seek professional help – A doctor, therapist, or addiction treatment specialist can assess your level of AUD and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
- Build a support network – Inform friends and family of your intention to quit drinking so they can offer support and encouragement.
- Create a plan – Set clear goals and create a plan for how to achieve them. This is best done with an addiction specialist or other healthcare provider.
- Join a support group – Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide ongoing support and accountability.
Many people who want to quit drinking try to do so by going “cold turkey” or stopping all at once. However, this is not a good idea, especially for long-time or heavy drinkers. In these cases, tapering alcohol use is best.
Individuals with mild to moderate AUD who are otherwise healthy and do not have other substance use issues might be able to safely detox from alcohol at home with input and supervision from a professional. However, individuals with severe AUD are at high risk for withdrawal complications and should always seek professional detox services.
Alcohol Detox Timeline
Going through alcohol withdrawal is physically and psychologically challenging and uncomfortable. Avoidance of withdrawal symptoms is the most commonly reported barrier to treatment. At Vertava Health, we will be honest about what you can expect from the detox process based on your information about your alcohol use history. We will provide medical, physical, emotional, and psychological support to encourage you to make your way through the detox process safely and securely.
While everyone is different, the following is a general alcohol detox timeline:
- 6-8 hours from the last drink (mild) – Typical hangover symptoms can include headache, dehydration, nausea, sweating, increased heart rate, and anxiety.
- 12-48 hours from the last drink (moderate) – Mild symptoms continue, in addition to rapid or abnormal breathing, increased blood pressure, confusion, and mild hypothermia. Individuals with severe addiction may experience seizures.
- 72 hours from the last drink (severe) – Moderate symptoms continue, with possible seizures, delirium tremens (DTs), auditory or visual hallucinations, and disorientation.
- 7 days to several months (lasting) – Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) can include sleep and mood disorders.
Without professional treatment from an alcohol detox center, some people can rapidly progress through these stages, posing significant health risks. When individuals are addicted to other substances or have co-occurring mental health disorders, the dangers of alcohol detox can be amplified.
Once the initial physical symptoms subside, many people struggle with ongoing psychological symptoms. It is vital to remember that quitting drinking requires patience, perseverance, and continued support. Alcohol detox is just the first step on the road to recovery.
Contact Vertava Health to Safely Stop Drinking
You are not alone if you struggle with alcohol use disorder; help is available at Vertava Health. For more information on how to stop drinking safely, contact our team at 844.451.0263. Our intake specialists can help you find the best detox and treatment program for yourself or your loved one.